We all have grand ideas of the holidays, and what they should or shouldn’t look like. We feel pressure for perfect table settings and to make everything from scratch. It’s not necessary for everything to be homemade to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving, but I do want to offer you a recipe for an EASY cranberry sauce that might make your meal just a little more special for very little effort. It’s a win, win for sure!
I’m pretty sure that I’m actually one of the few people on earth that like canned cranberry sauce (I prefer the jellied if I’m getting the canned variety). It’s what I had growing up (yes, even in a family of food-obsessed chefs, we had canned cranberry sauce). Nostalgia is a potent ingredient no matter what the food. Yet, I have come to love homemade cranberry sauce for two reasons. One, it’s the easiest thing on the face of the earth. You can dump all the ingredients in a pan, stir a few times, and wait for the berries to pop and congeal. That’s it. Pack it up into a container and it can sit in your fridge for 10-14 days. Today is November 12, you can make it today, freeze it, and pop in the fridge the day before Thanksgiving. And despite it being so easy, everyone is always so impressed that you made HOMEMADE cranberry sauce. Little did they know it took like 10 minutes, but whatever, take the credit.
Second, it tastes much better than the canned, nostalgia be damned. This cranberry sauce is made with orange, which is a natural pairing. And, I also added a cinnamon stick while it’s simmering that I remove after it’s done cooking. Why the stick and not ground cinnamon? It adds a subtle spice to the cranberry sauce when paired with the brown sugar. I’ve used ground in the past, and it’s a little overpowering. You want your cranberry sauce to be fresh, bright, and with a little something tasty that people can’t place. That’s the cinnamon stick. When people ask, you can tell them it’s your secret ingredient.
If you’re part of my email list, you’ll know that last week I shared five ways that I’m prepping for Thanksgiving now. Add this cranberry sauce would be my number 6. If you’re sad about missing the other five ways, subscribe today!Print
Easy Cranberry Sauce
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- zest of 1 large orange
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries
- Heat orange juice, zest, brown sugar, and cinnamon stick over medium-high heat in a saucepan until sugar dissolves.
- Add in cranberries and simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the cranberries have popped and sauce is thickened. Cool and serve or keep in the fridge for up to 14 days.